The Severe Spotlight: Allan Nascimento

Allan Nascimento is a dark horse in the stacked 125lb division.  This is not a dark horse in a Troy sense, but a dark horse that pressures, and preys on the men standing across from them, quietly dispatching of opponents and quietly, unassumingly climbing the rankings.

Pressuring and preying was the modus operandi for his performance against Carlos Hernandez. Inside the first 15 seconds, the well put together guard and neat feet of Nascimento had driven Hernandez back behind the treacherous tramline. The first strike that lands for Nascimento is a left kick to the body at the end of the combination on the edge of the pocket. This is poignant as it tells what the man is inside the cage, always dangerous, but always tactically aware of range, and defensive positioning.

That same left kick is countered by Hernandez moments later, a stiff left hook right hand sends Nascimento scurrying back a few steps, the annoyance written across his face. A reset back into the tucked chin, high shoulders, ice cream scoop hands stance and the forward pressure continues.

A back leg teep the chin, followed immediately by a stiff piston right hand, has Hernandez back tracking. Due to the pressure of Nascimento, he doesn’t have far to move until he finds the cage wall. Pinned to that wall by a left hook, right uppercut Nascimento uses the uppercut to change levels, and get under the retracted elbows of Hernandez, into a single leg and running the pipe aggressively enough that Hernandez is forced to turtle.

Off-balancing is the pre-requisite to most applications of technique in all facets, if an opponent is off balance standing, a strike is easier to land, if on the ground the top player is off balance, attacking a sweep or a submission chain is simpler, equally in the standing grappling realm is it easier to manipulate an off-balance opponent into an area of danger. So much like footwork is a primary battle in striking, off-balancing is the primary fight for standing grappling.

Hernandez rises from the turtle to a back bodylock, Nascimento does not hide his intentions, lacing a hook immediately, that Hernandez does well to shrug off. The dilemma that Hernandez is battling is; weight too far forward, and he gets mat returned back to the turtle position, weight too far back, he is pulled into back control, weight too high, he is lifted and mat returned aggressively. If he fights the hands, he allows hooks from Nascimento, if he doesn’t fight the hands, he is not escaping the position.

Nascimento is using a multitude of off-balances to gain reactions from Hernandez, he is switching the hips he is attacking, going left and right, when the weight is in Hernandez’s heels, he will kick out at the heels, to pull Hernandez over, forcing him to overcorrect or fall. At all times looking for those hooks. After three or four off balances, combined with hip switches. Nascimento pulls Hernandez on top of him. As a general rule in MMA this is bad practice, you are lowering your hips below the line of your opponents, and should they scramble and turn in, there is a high chance you end on bottom. However Nascimento keeps a tight clamp with his bodylock grip until Hernandez sits in his lap and switching immediately to double unders, throwing in his top hook (the left leg) and switching his head to the right side, so he has both shoulders controlled, and now cross body control also.

The second hook comes in, and Nascimento is hand fighting for the choke. Nascimento switches off to a far side body triangle, further locking down the legs and hips. Hernandez does a good choke of defensively hand fighting, looking for ways to misalign his hips and back, at one point using his feet to wall walk trying to stack Nascimento and escape over the top. Nascimento doubles down on the body triangle but Hernandez rolls through to a turtle, and stands. When standing you must place your hands on the ground as posts, which means your neck is unprotected. Nascimento is already locking the mandible strangle before Hernandez has straightened his back, and whilst Hernandez does a fantastic job of stripping the top arm, Nascimento switches to a palm to palm quickly and leaning his weight onto the cage wall as a support, squeezes the choke until Hernandez is forced to tap.